Module 5: Assessing Paint

This module goes over everything paint. First, we will start by understanding the components of a paint job, continuing to explore some of the most common issues paint can have.

Components of Paint

While car paint appears uniform, it consists of many layers. Understanding the complexity of car paint is important for you to be able to identify problems you might encounter in your work.

The first coat applied to the carcass of a car is the primer. It serves as a leveler, hiding any imperfections that might occur during production. It also protects the vehicle, and most importantly, acts as a binder, making it easier to apply the rest of the coats to the surface.

After primer, the base coat, or the actual paint, is applied. This part of the paintwork contains the actual color properties.

There are types of base coat, including single solid color, metallic paints that give a car a shiny, metallic look, and pearlescent paints, which give a car additional sparkle and character.

The final layer of paint is the clear coat that is applied over the base coat. The final coat acts as a buffer between the environment and the paint, protecting it from outside factors.

As a result, the clearcoat must be able to withstand various environmental impacts, including UV light protection to prevent discoloration of the paint.

Common Issues with Paint

There are many factors that can cause paint problems. Some paint defects are expected from the daily use of the vehicle and usual wear and tear, such as scratching and even chipping of the paint.

Scratching occurs with daily usage as well as from using automatic car wash machines. Such scratches can be removed with polishing.

Chipping can occur when small stones are thrown up by the wheels, affecting the paint job. In extreme cases, even the smallest chip can slowly erode from overexposure to the elements. Small, chipped areas can be touched up and finished off with a clear coat to prevent further damage.

Bird droppings are among the most common problems a paint job can have. Acids present in bird droppings can cause paint to get damaged, staining the vehicle. To prevent this, droppings should be removed as soon as possible.

Such stains can be removed with polishing unless the damage is too serious, in which case the car might require refinishing.

Color fade can occur when the paint job isn’t sufficiently protected from UV light. This can occur when low-quality paints are used in refinishing. Waxing a car can provide additional protection from UV light, minimizing the risk of color fading.

Unnoticed paint problems can often lead to corrosion. This happens when the moisture seeps through the broken paint layers, reaching the bare metal. Corrosion can be mild to severe, depending on the time and environment.

To repair corrosion, affected paint areas must be removed and refinished. If the corrosion is too severe, the impacted area might even be sandblasted before refinishing.

Evaluating Clear Coat

As we discussed, a protective clear coat can often get damaged through usage. There can be different issues affecting the clear coat that can eventually lead to more severe paint job problems.

The most common problem with a clear coat is peeling. This can happen for various environmental reasons, such as overexposure to UV light, staying too long out in the moist setting, etc.

To prevent color fade, and even corrosion, identifying where peeling occurs is important. Luckily, identifying the issue with the clear coat can prevent further deterioration of the paint job by fixing the protective layer on time.

Oxidized Paint

Oxidation is one form of corrosion that can affect the paint job. Oxidized paint appears chalky and faded and can’t be removed with a simple car wash.

Oxidation occurs with overexposure to the outside elements, especially UV light. A good protective layer can prevent oxidation.

Luckily, modern cars aren’t often affected by oxidation, thanks to better protective technologies. However, if you run into an oxidation issue, buffing and polishing can be used to treat the problem.